We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

People tend to believe things that further their personal interests, and universities are no exception. Wokification succeeded largely because it gave a lot of different people a lot of different things that they wanted. It gave the increasingly powerful university administration a reason to hire more administrators to manage diversity and ensure its forward march. Self-propagation is the highest goal of administrators everywhere. Wokeness also became a useful tool in ongoing turf wars between administrators and faculty. Diversity is a simple metric via which the administration can interfere with faculty hiring and academic operations; new diversity hires know who is buttering their bread and remain loyal to the administrators whose policies brought them in. For the increasingly mediocre and incapable faculty who now teach at even the most august American schools, the woke circus has its own attractions. It provides distraction from the unrelenting demands of objectivity and originality, and permits a pleasing, self-righteous indulgence in moral scolding. In Woke Studies, the answers are always predetermined and it is very easy to get anything published, provided you say the right things. For students, Wokeness has still other attractions—as a font of easy coursework, as an opportunity for social networking, and as a locus for the periodic ritual entertainment of false moral outrages and protests.

– The indispensable Eugyppius

Samizdata quote of the day

Yet perhaps the most critical difference between traditional socialism and its new form relates to growth. The New Socialism’s emphasis on climate change necessarily removes economic growth as a priority. Quite the opposite, in fact: the Green agenda looks instead towards a shrinking economy and lowered living standards, seeking to elevate favoured groups within a stagnant economy rather than generating opportunities for the general population.

Joel Kotkin, in an article riddled with laughable notions mixed with on-the-money observations.

Samizdata quote of the day

Things descended into absurdity when A. abruptly asked:

Do you seriously believe that countries all over the world have coordinated and agreed to order restrictions like these? Northern Italy last year, China, etc.?

I was totally dismayed by her open cluelessness. Had she slept through these world-historical moments? Did she have no idea that lockdowns were demonstrably imported from China, with the help of the WHO and other actors? Was her implication that all these restrictions had arisen in spontaneous response to conditions, and that everything must therefore be in order? In any event, she called me “naive,” because I naturally answered her question with “yes.”

A. and B. are both intelligent and competent people in their fields, and I value both for different reasons. Nevertheless, they are swimming in these currents as if hypnotised, like countless others, and with their complicity our country has devolved into a dystopian dictatorship.

Martin Lichtmesz

Twenty years of Samizdata

It has been a long and crazy ride, but we are still here snarling, laughing, bloviating and pondering 20 years later.

In these increasingly intolerant times, never have independent sites been more needed than now.

Samizdata quote of the day

COP26 will help to consolidate this neo-aristocracy. And, bizarrely, the left will cheer it on. The left once said: ‘We do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance… We do not call for a limitation of births, for penurious thrift, and self-denial. We call for a great production that will supply all, and more than all the people can consume.’ (Sylvia Pankhurst.) Now it pleads with the super-rich to come up with more and more creative ideas for how to rein in the filthy habits and material dreams of the masses. What a disaster. It isn’t climate change that poses the largest threat to humanity in the early 21st century. It’s the bourgeoisie’s loss of faith in its historic project, and its arrogant generalisation of that loss of faith into a new ‘green’ ideology we must all bow down before. A revolt against environmentalism is arguably the most necessary cause of our age. Who’s in?

Brendan O’Neill

Funeral of Brian Micklethwait: November 15th 2021

Please follow this link for the time and location of Brian’s funeral. Also included is the information required to observe the proceedings online if you wish to do so on the day.

If you are coming in person, please RSVP so we have some idea regarding numbers.

Pithy analysis

I read an article on Unherd by Tim Bale and was struck by what a great example of mainstream herd thinking it was. I quite like Unherd and subscribe, but it also has some very much in-the-herd stuff like this one.

But then in the comments I saw pithy analysis of Tim Bale’s views by ‘Mikey Mike‘…

The Devil’s Dictionary [a translator]

economic rationality – policy solutions that everyone except economists agree with.

let’s look, first, a little closer at the Conservative Party under Cameron – “would you like to impale a straw man” (sung to the melody from Frozen)

ethnocentric, not particularly well-educated, intensely patriotic voters – citizens who become dumb racists when they stop voting Labour

commit…to net zero – Assure the public that we’ll make it a lot more expensive for the working poor to heat their homes and drive their cars without the climate ever noticing the difference.

draconian policies – stuff that a slogan can dismantle before a paragraph can defend.

austerity – whenever the annual increase in spending drops below 10%

NHS – A wonderful system for treating the healthy

Perfect comment is perfect.

The unapologetic face of totalitarianism

Lin Jinyue, designer of China’s totalitarian social credit system explain how it would have prevented Gilets Jaunes & any other protests.

(via Alan Miller)

Samizdata quote of the day

I fear that, having once been sacrificed on the altar of the NHS and its limited capacity, our freedoms are no longer safe from the utilitarian knife. The same people telling us to shop alone, drink alone, and be in bed by eleven, to save lives from Coronavirus, will continue to make the same arguments over lesser risks.

If we accept pubs serving no alcohol, or alcohol only with a meal, or closing at ten, on the shaky ground that it reduces the spread of a virus, why not accept similar measures to take the strain of drunkenness off A&E departments every weekend? It can’t be coincidence that those rules fit so well with public health campaigners’ longstanding desire to wean us off our boozy nights out.

Timadra Harkness

There are some questionable assumption in the linked article but the points above are an absolute certainty. People need to push back and not be too concerned with being polite.

Final farewell

Brian Micklethwait departed this world earlier today, leaving the samizdatistas poorer for his absence but richer for his lifetime dedication to the cause of liberty.

Brian’s Friday – Zoom

The Life of Brian: A Reception to Celebrate the Life of Brian Micklethwait event at the Institute of Economic Affairs tomorrow will be available on Zoom for anyone who cannot attend. Link here.

Samizdata quote of the day

The deforestation statistics are startling to anybody who listens only to green activists. In 2018 a team from the University of Maryland concluded: ‘We show that – contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally – tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km². That’s 7 percent more forest globally than in 1982. New forests have been planted and old ones have regenerated naturally, as the footprint of farming shrinks, thanks to better yields.

Matt Ridley in the print version of The Spectator, article titled Viral misinformation.